Beth Webb Hart's Moon Over Edisto is a book that grabs you by the heart and doesn't let go.
Julia Bennett's childhood was spent in the South Carolina low country where she enjoyed the leisure of fishing, crabbing, and painting along the shores of Edisto Island. Her family and childhood were picture perfect until they weren't.
During their years in college, Julia and Marney were the best of friends. Because Marney didn't have a family of her own, Julia and her family welcomed Marney with open arms. Unfortunately, it was Mr. Charles Bennett's arms that Marney ran into.
Twenty years later the Bennett family is still in ruins. Mary Ellen, Julia's mother, never quite recovered from the shock of the divorce. Meg, Julia's sister, holds such a grudge that she even keeps her own husband and children at distance, being sure to keep control as much as she can. As for Julia, she left it all behind, vowing never to return to Edisto again. She fled to New York, became an academic and artist, and recently got engaged to a rising art dealer.
With the new life she was leading and the distractions, Julia thought she had everything under control. She had fought with her emotions enough--therapy and pills to assist--but they couldn't stay hidden for long especially when Marney showed up on her doorstep pleading for help.
Marney, a recent widow, has lung cancer and asks Julia to return to Edisto in order to care for her half-sisters and half-brother whom she has never met. Coming face-to-face with the woman who stole her life right out from under her forced the hidden past to rise like a lump in her throat. Julia couldn't let her mother do it, and asking Meg was fruitless, so she begrudgingly agrees to help for one week.
In such a short week, Julia falls in love with more than just the offspring of her father and Marney, but also a doctor who as a teen had stolen a kiss from her. Some questions still remain: Can Mary Ellen get over her divorce? Can Meg let go of her grudges? Which man will Julia choose? Will Julia ever forgive Marney?
Being a girl from the south who spent many summers at Edisto Island (not to forget to mention my husband is from Charleston), I really enjoyed this book. Beth Webb Hart did such an amazing job describing the area that I completely lost myself, imagining all the times I've spent fishing and crabbing out there during the summer with friends. Such great memories washed over me!
Aside from my own experiences in the area in which the story is set, the book as a whole is really good. Laughter and tears will be shed with this book.
My only complaint is the author's use of the same name for two different characters. That is one of the main rules in writing. To avoid confusion, refrain from using the same name for different characters. There was one sentence when I wasn't sure who the author was referring to until I moved on to the next few lines. My suggestion is that if she wanted to keep the same name, she should have referred to the younger as "Preston Jr."
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